Norway, Switzerland see better economic ties with PH

Norway and Switzerland expect a boost in the economic relations with the Philippines after the Senate ratified the country’s free trade agreement (FTA) with European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Norwegian Ambassador Erik Førner and Swiss Ambassador Andrea Reichlin both welcomed this development from the Philippines.

Norway and Switzerland, along with Liechtenstein and Iceland are member states of EFTA.

“This agreement is beneficial to both parties and will encourage and stimulate cross-border trade,” said Førner in a statement Thursday.

He said that once the Philippines-EFTA FTA enters into force, Norway would enhance trade in goods and services with the Asian country, as well as in areas of fisheries, seafaring, maritime transport, energy, and financial services.

After Senate’s ratification of the FTA last Monday, Swiss envoy Reichlin met with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III Tuesday, wherein she stressed the benefits of having the free trade deal.

“FTAs provide entrepreneurial incentives, as well as the highest political commitment to move forward in the best interest of respective citizens and in managing global commerce,” said Reichlin.
“FTAs achieve better results for our respective workplaces, our consumers and for the improvement of living standards than restrictive international collaboration,” the Swiss ambassador said.

In previous statements, the Department of Trade and Industry targets to double trade with the economic bloc two years after the implementation of the Philippines-EFTA FTA.

The four-member states only account for 1 percent of the country’s total trade.

The FTA will be in effect three months after the ratification of the Philippines and at least one of EFTA states. Only Iceland has yet to ratify the free trade deal.

The Philippines is EFTA’s second country in ASEAN which it has FTA after Singapore.

It also has ongoing negotiations for an FTA in the region with Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, while talks with Thailand are currently on hold. PNA